Thursdays With Oswald—Love God First, People Second

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Love God First, People Second

     We erect terrific standards, and then criticize men for not reaching them. The standard of Christianity is not that of a man, but of God; and unless God can put His Spirit into a man, that standard can never be reached. … 

     If I am not related to God first my love becomes cruel, because I demand infinite satisfaction from the one I love; I demand from a human being what he or she can never give. There is only one Being Who can satisfy the last aching abyss of the human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. … 

     There is so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us, that it ill behooves any of us to talk about the rest of us. … Remember that “there is none good but One, that is, God.”

From Shade Of His Hand

When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandments were, the first one He listed was love God with all you’ve got. Then, said Jesus, the second commandment is love others.

The order is crucial! If I try to love others first, my finite love will dry up. But if I make loving God the priority, then I become a channel of Infinite Love.

Only God’s love can satisfy my heart. Only God’s love can equip me to truly love others.

Thursdays With Oswald—It All Comes Down To Jesus

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

It All Comes Down To Jesus

     The atheist, or socialist, or Christian—all who look to the future and express a view of what ought to be, see the same vision. They see the brotherhood of man, a time of peace on earth when there will be no more war, but a state of goodwill and perfect liberty, at present inconceivable. There is nothing wrong with the vision, and there is no difference in the vision because its source is the Spirit of God; the difference is in the way it is to be reached. The vision is of the nature of a castle in the air. That is where a castle should be; who ever heard of a castle underground! The problem is how to put the foundation under your castle in the air so that it can stand upon the earth. The New Testament says that the only foundation is not Rationalism but the absolute efficacy of the Redemption of Jesus Christ. … 

     There is only one thing as futile as the Roman Catholic Church and that is Protestantism. In Roman Catholicism the great dominating authority is Churchianity, the church is vested with all authority. In Protestantism it is what the Book says that is the supreme authority, and a man gets rest when he decides for either. “I am going to give up all the turmoil and let my Church do my thinking for me.” If you put your faith in a Church, it will solve your problems for you. Or you may stake your faith in Bibliolatry with the same result. “Ye search the Scriptures, because ye think in them ye have eternal life; and these are they which bear witness of Me, and ye will not come to Me that ye may have life” (John 5:39-40). Jesus Christ says neither the Church nor the Bible is the authority, but “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”; the Church and the Bible are secondary. 

From The Shadow Of An Agony 

Atheism, socialism, Christianism, Catholicism, Protestantism—all these –isms are man’s ideas.

Our priority should be a personal relationship to Jesus Christ! Stop fighting for an idea; but fight those ideas that want you to choose them over Jesus.

Only One is THE Way, Truth, and Life.

4 Tips For Making Better Goals

1 Corinthians 10.31I have noticed a lot of similarities between the September back-to-school rush, and New Year’s Day. Except instead of resolutions, in the fall most people set new goals, or try to readjust their schedules to take advantage of a new season.

This is an excellent idea, and the perfect time to do it.

In a psalm written by Moses, he tells us to understand the value of our days, and be as wise as we can with what we do with each day God has given us (Psalm 90:12).

The Apostle Paul echoes these thoughts:

Be very careful, then, how do you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. (Ephesians 5:15-17)

One way for us to make the most of every day is to wisely set some goals. Here are four tips that I’ve discovered to help me.

(1) The fewer the goals, the better.

Craig Groeschel said, “To do more things, do less things better.” I totally agree. I would suggest limiting yourself to just 1-2 goals at a time. Then put these one or two goals on your calendar first. In other words: Don’t prioritize your schedule, but schedule your priorities.

(2) Don’t fall into the sacred/secular trap.

So many people—even Christians—think that there are spiritual goals and non-spiritual goals. But the Bible says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Every goal you set is a spiritual goal, because every goal should help you live your life wisely, in a way that honors and glorifies God.

(3) Make your goals S.M.A.R.T.

You may have heard these before, but I really like to use them. Make your goals:

  • Specific—not “I want to eat better” but “I want to eat two servings of fruits or vegetables each day.”
  • Measurable—have a way to track your progress toward your goal. How many pages did you read? how many calories did you eat? how many minutes did you work out?
  • Achievable—don’t set a goal to run 5 miles a day if you’ve only been a couch potato. Ramp your goals up little by little in a way that’s achievable for you.
  • Relevant—I like to ask a “so that?” question about each of my goals in make sure it’s moving me forward. “I want to exercise for 20 minute three times per week, so that my blood pressure comes down, so that I can live medicine-free, so that I can….” I think you get the idea. Keep going to make sure your goal is relevant for your life.
  • Time to review—set a date to revisit your goals and see if you need to adjust anything.

(4) Make a “stop doing” list.

You cannot do everything, so focus on the important, not the urgent. And remember not everything can stay on your calendar. For instance, if you want to read more in the evenings, you may have to eliminate some TV time; if you want to exercise in the mornings, you may have to eliminate that second cup of coffee.

Just a couple of verses after Moses challenges us to make the most of every day God has given us, he asks God for His helpMay the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for usyes, establish the work of our hands.

May God give you wisdom as you make new goals, and may He bless the work of your hands as you implement your new strategies.

5 Quotes On Love’s Endurance From “The Seven Laws Of Love”

The Seven Laws Of Love

In The Seven Laws Of Love, Dave Willis gives us some highly practical, biblically-based counsel for investing in all of our relationships. Normally when I share quotes from books, I share all of them at once, but for this book I felt like it would be good to share these quotes a bit more slowly, to give you time to read them and apply them.

The seven laws Dave identifies are:

  1. Love requires commitment (read the quotes here)
  2. Love selflessly sacrifices (read the quotes here)
  3. Love speaks truth (read the quotes here)
  4. Love conquers fear (read the quotes here)
  5. Love offers grace (read the quotes here)
  6. Love brings healing (read the quotes here)
  7. Love lives forever

From law #7, here are some quotes on how love lives forever—

“Make a deliberate decision right now to stop wasting time and start putting first things first. Give the very best of yourself to your loved ones, not the leftovers after you’ve given your best to everyone and everything else.”

“Don’t take yourselves too seriously, but don’t take your commitments too lightly. Live life with conviction and purpose, but make plenty of room for fun. Laughter should be the soundtrack of your relationships.”

“Fight for each other, but never fight against each other. In every disagreement, remember that your relationship is much more important than whatever you’re arguing about.”

“Love isn’t a story with a happy ending. Love is a story with no ending!”

“Don’t treat others the way they treat you; treat others the way God treats you.”

Check out my review of The Seven Laws Of Love by clicking here.

3 Quotes About Bible Studies

New Bible study toolsYesterday I shared 7 must-have Bible study tools. Here are three powerful quotes on how and why we should make studying our Bibles an ongoing, lifelong pursuit.

“Search the Scriptures. Do not merely read them—search them; look up the parallel passages; collate them; try to get the meaning of the Spirit upon any one truth by looking to all the texts which refer to it. Read the Bible consecutively: do not merely read a verse here and there—that is not fair.” —Charles Spurgeon

“One cannot simply read the Bible, like other books. One must be prepared really to enquire of it. Only thus will it reveal itself. Only if we expect from it the ultimate answer, shall we receive it.” —Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Let us resolve to read the Bible more and more every year we live. Let us try to get it rooted in our memories, and engraved into our hearts. … Let us resolve to be more watchful over our Bible reading every year that we live. Let us be jealously careful about the time we give to it, and the manner that time is spent. Let us be aware of omitting our daily reading without sufficient cause. Let us not be gaping, and yawning and dozing over our book, while we read. … Let us be very careful that we never exalt any minister, or sermon, or book, or tract, or friend above the Word. Cursed be that book, or tract, or human counsel, which creeps in between us and the Bible, and hides the Bible from our eyes! … Let us resolve to talk more to believers about the Bible when we meet them. Sorry to say, the conversation of Christians, when they do meet, is often sadly unprofitable! How many frivolous, and trifling, and uncharitable things are said! Let us bring out the Bible more, and it will help to drive the devil away, and keep our hearts in tune.” —J.C. Ryle

Links & Quotes

link quote

“O Lord, keep me strong in the sense of Thy call.” —Thomas Boston, Scottish Presbyterian pastor

“You have remained true to God under the great tests, now be alert over the least things.” —Oswald Chambers

“Mighty events turn on a straw.” —Thomas Carlyle

“God is love, but God is also just, as severely just as if He had no love, and yet as intensely loving as if He had no justice. To gain a just view of the character of God you must perceive all His attributes as infinitely developed; justice must have its infinity acknowledged as much as mercy.” —Charles Spurgeon

“Pleasures demean, disappoint, and destroy us when they are merely fleeting, fleshly, and foolish. The pleasure we ultimately seek, and for which we were created, can only be found in one place, in fellowship and communion with the Lord of heaven and earth.” —T.M. Moore

John Piper has some very insightful words in the wake of the tragedy in Paris—France: A Fabric Torn.

Jim Cymbala reminds us, “There are no trendy shortcuts, no hocus-pocus mantras that can defeat satan.” Read more in No Hocus-Pocus.

Parents, teachers, and anyone who works with youth will appreciate this counsel from Tim Elmore: 5 ways to cure the “cool kid” curse.

[VIDEO] What does the Quran teach about Jesus?—

[VIDEO] Pastor Dave Barringer is in Israel, and this real-time observation is quite eye-opening—

Links & Quotes

link quote

“To do an evil action is base; to do a good action, without incurring danger, is common enough; but it is the part of a good man to do great and noble deeds, though he risks everything.” —Plutarch

“A slender acquaintance with the world must convince every man that actions, not words, are the true criterion of the attachment of friends.” —George Washington

Jon Bloom reminds us that your Bible is a gold mine! “The Bible contains over 31,000 verses—so much gold and so little time. We’ll never exhaust the gold it contains during our brief lives, but we must discover all we can.”

Dr. Steve Turley on the consequences from families that skip church for sports.

Another good reason to be involved in a local church. “We can’t really experience salvation by ourselves. By its very nature, it reaches out toward others in community,” say Ben Sternke. Read more from his post here.

I am shocked (I type this with great sarcasm!)—Planned Parenthood has donated to (bribed?) several Democrats who are on the committee to investigate Planned Parenthood’s murderous crimes.

%d bloggers like this: